February is heart month in Canada, which brings awareness to the importance of cardiovascular health. For many people, good heart health includes eating well and exercising, but it is important to know that sleep also has a large role to play in a healthy heart too.
Heart disease affects millions of Canadians each year, however, many cardiovascular diseases can be prevented by adopting some healthy habits, which includes sleep.
The relationship between sleep and your heart
Good sleep is essential to your overall well-being as it gives your body a chance to rest and recharge so that you can function well in the daytime. If you are not getting enough restful sleep on a regular basis, this can lead to many health problems including weight gain, diabetes, stroke, and high blood pressure, just to name a few. All of these can lead to heart problems if they are not treated.
In addition, anxiety, depression, and stress, all of which can affect your sleep, have been known to increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases if left untreated. For this reason, it is important to try to reduce stress, and seek medical help for any untreated mental health disorders.
Tips to improve your sleep, and your heart
Make sure you get at least 8-10 hours of sleep per night and that you stay consistent in the time you go to bed and wake up each day. Practice good sleep hygiene and maintain healthy diet and exercise habits. All these together will improve the health of your heart and reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.
It is also important to note that many sleep disorders, including sleep apnea, can lead to serious heart problems if they are left untreated. Be sure to speak to your doctor if you are experiencing any sleep problems that you are not able to resolve on your own.